‘I Can Make It With You . . .’

Just as readers getting to know one another check out each other’s bookshelves, so, too, do music lovers cast inquiring eyes on the record and CD collections of folks new to their lives. And I was rifling through the LPs owned by my new lady in June 1987 when I came across an album by a group I’d never heard about: The Pozo-Seco Singers.

The album was I Can Make It With You.

“Oh, that’s one of my favorites,” my ladyfriend said. And when I heard the album later that day or maybe that week, her love of the record made sense. The folk rock of the Pozo-Seco Singers’ second album, a 1966 release, fit right in with the folk and the folk-rock that made up most of her collection: Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio, the Brothers Four, Gordon Lightfoot, Simon & Garfunkel, the We Five and more.

And I Can Make It With You became one of the albums we played on occasion when we whiled away time at her place that late spring and summer. After that, I doubt that I heard it again until sometime during the last few years, when a digital copy of the album came my way. And when the title track popped up the other night as the RealPlayer rolled on, I got to thinking about the Pozo-Seco Singers and I did some digging.

The group released a total of four albums, according to All Music Guide. In 1966, Time went to No. 127 on the Billboard 200, and the following February, I Can Make It With You went to No 81. The group’s last two releases, 1967’s Shades Of Time and 1970’s Spend Some Time With Me, did not chart.

The group – perhaps better remembered these days for the presence of eventual country star Don Williams – had eight singles in or near the Billboard Hot 100, starting with “Time,” which went to No. 47 in early 1966 and ending with “Strawberry Fields/Something” (credited to simply Pozo Seco), which bubbled under the chart at No. 115 in late 1970. Of their eight charting or near-charting singles, the best performing was “I Can Make It With You,” which peaked at No. 32 on the Billboard chart on October 22, 1966, forty-seven years ago today.

I don’t recall the record from its time on the chart, but I wasn’t really listening in the autumn of 1966, and from what I see at Oldiesloon, “I Can Make It With You” never charted at KDWB anyway. A few years later, I might have heard it late at night on WLS, but as it happened, I likely never heard the record until I heard it on my lady’s stereo some evening late in the spring of 1987.

And I learned as I dug around during the past few days that the Pozo-Seco Singers weren’t the only ones who released “I Can Make It With You” as a single. Jackie DeShannon also recorded the Chip Taylor song, and her version reached the Hot 100 the same week that the Pozo-Seco Singers’ version did, on September 10, 1966. But DeShannon’s version – a slower ballad-like take backed with a near Wall of Sound – peaked at No. 68 in early October and was gone from the chart by the time the Pozo-Seco Singers’ version was at its peak.

If I were forced to do so, it would be hard to choose one of the two. I love almost everything I’ve ever heard from DeShannon’s catalog, and her take on “I Can Make It With You” is no exception. But the visceral tug of memory is hard to resist, so I’d probably go with the Pozo-Seco Singers on a warm late spring evening.

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4 Responses to “‘I Can Make It With You . . .’”

  1. Larry Grogan says:

    That’s a great song! Pozo-Seco is one of those groups where I’ve known the name forever, but never heard any of their music. I’ll have to look out for this one. I like the DeShannon version, too.

  2. Yah Shure says:

    Two great versions of a classic, if largely-forgotten, tune. In the Twin Cities, the Pozo-Seco Singers’ version made it up to number nineteen during a brief run on WDGY, so it’s entirely possible that KDWB played it as an uncharted extra. I did hear all three of the P-SS’ top 50 hits on the local top 40 airwaves.

    If ever there were a lost Pozo-Seco Singers song (unavailable since 1966) it’s “Down The Road I Go,” the B-side of the “Time” 45s issued by Edmark and Columbia. Compared to Don Williams’ somewhat more countrified 1974 update for JMI, it’s a downright bare-bones performance; decked out in nothing more than the inherent simplicity of Johnny Cash’s “Ballad Of A Teenage Queen.” I first ran across the Columbia 45 in the basement at KOMA, where we were already playing Don’s version upstairs as an oldie.

    Don wasn’t the first Pozo-Seco alum to record for Jack Clement’s JMI label in Nashville: Susan Taylor’s ‘Finally Getting Home’ LP contained “Won’t You Take Me In” (JMI 2), a 1972 single that notched some spins as an “album cut” on WDGY, of all stations.

  3. Paco Malo says:

    My preference is the original by the Ponzo – Seco Singers.

    The melody and rhythm are simply lost in the Jackie DeShannon cover — and it ain’t Jackie’s fault. It’s the producer(s); the strings are so over-powering I feel compelled to grab my wire cutters and slash that sting section.

  4. Steve E. says:

    I remember hearing “Time” when it was new; I was 8. I finally got it years later, and it still sounds so haunting and melancholy to this day. It did well on KHJ, peaking at No. 9 in early 1966. KHJ also charted “I Believed It All,” which reached No. 24. Oddly, their two biggest national hits, “I Can Make It With You” and “Look What You’ve Done,” were only hitbounds on KHJ, not cracking the Boss 30.

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